This blog is out of sequence, we still need to tell you about all the fun times in Panama and the boat trip to Colombia, but we wanted to get this blog out of the way before the new year to start 2012 afresh.
26 days ago after an afternoon of sightseeing in Medellin, we walked back to casa Waldron salivating over the promise of bacon sandwiches and out of nowhere I was hit by a speeding motor bike and have been hospitalised ever since.
Thankfully I have no recollection of the accident, but Dave still has nightmares about it. I was hit by the motorbike and thrown 15+ metres along the road. I suffered 5 fractures of my pelvis, one in the lumbar sacral area, and four in the front, and my left hand (my dominant one) had a very bad laceration, 3 severed tendons and two fractures. Amazingly my spine, neck and legs were all untouched, but I did have a small haematoma in my brain for about 10 days.
We all agree that I am very lucky to be alive. I have now had 4 surgeries and everything in my pelvis is pinned and plated,
Dave and Sean dressed for isolation
Necessary attire to visit me in quarantine!
but most disturbingly I have an external fixation, a meccano-like construction that has rods and bars that extends 15cm from my pelvic region. I am definitely on my way to becoming robo girl and it will make wearing clothes rather difficult, but thankfully the ugly rods will only be with me for two months.
My hand has been repaired with internal titanium plates, but on the outside looks rather Frankenstein-ish, but the prognosis for full movement again is very good. I have limited movement in my fingers, but I am supposed to exercise them daily in my custom-made hand-gym that doubles as a plaster splint. Wierd. I am not yet walking, but rather shuffling a few steps cuddling Dave as he walks backwards. Dave has been a tower of strength throughout this whole time even though it is so emotionally taxing on him. When Dave made the initial phonecalls to family, my mum volunteered to come over. Initially we declined her offer, but two days later rang her back to see if she would come from London to Medellin! She arrived 2 days later laden with vegemite, pineapple lumps, magazines in English and plenty of much needed hugs!!
We have been so lucky to have such amazing support from family and friends both here, and overseas. Susy, Sean and the entire Waldron family have been our homebase support here, generously helping out in myriad ways. Skype has been a lifeline as we’ve chatted to people on the other side of the world as if they were in the same room. Messages of love, support and healing flooded in via email and facebook, and Emma who we met in Nicaragua even managed to ingeniously engineer a friend-of-a-friend to visit us and deliver a pamper pack and goodie bag! In what has been a physically, mentally and emotionally draining time for us, knowing we have your love and support has kept our spirits up and we thank you all for this.
Although we are in a private clinic, nursing Colombian style is a tad different to how things operate back home. My first Columbian bed bath consisted of four nurses filling a bucket of with warmish water, then getting a plastic glass and pouring it over me, as I laid in bed in a pool of water shivering. They then applied soap is in random places, including my pillowslip,
and then dried me in an equally ad-hoc manner. The first time mum witnessed this, and looked on in horror she declared that she would be bathing me instead, and over a few days taught Dave the subtle art of giving a significantly drier bed bath.
Another problem of course has been that every conversation is conducted in Spanish so we have had to master a whole new medical vocabulary. I might add that I mastered morphina
pretty quickly! The surgeons and Doctors have been great, our favourite being the orthopaedic surgeon Dr Bacca who believes in a healthy dose of chocolate to get the endorphins firing. He arrives to visit us with all sorts of tasty treats, including a bottle of red wine that we are saving for full recovery.
Our main problem has been that the rehabilitative care is pretty non-existent. Despite repeated requests by Dr Bacca and us, the physio pops in randomly a couple of times a week for about 20 minutes of passive exercises, so I am not making any great progress towards walking and recovery, and we feared that at this rate I would not be walking before next Christmas!!
the pelvic rods
Yes these are the rods that are attached internally to my pelvic bones and protrude out of body about 15 cm!! I will have these for about 2 months and will need a new/adapted wardrobe.
Anxious to get moving, Dave and mum helped me into a wheelchair and it was a great feeling to escape the room. There happened to be some market stalls in the hospital atrium which provided some much needed retail therapy. Our next outing was thwarted by non wheelchair compliant footpaths once we went beyond the hospital grounds. And then I developed a mysterious infection that meant that I was quarantined and all visitors had to wear blue gowns, hats and booties!
Mum and Dave managed to escape the hospital and joined the Waldrons for their Noventa pre-Christmas celebrations and had a great time. Christmas day pretty much sucked for us, enhanced somewhat by some vegemite on crackers. Luckily in late November we had celebrated with Sean, Susy, Lindsey, Rich, Stacey and James with a delicious roast dinner in Guatape. We joked at the time that it was like Christmas, but little did we know it actually would be for us, so very thankful to have had that time together!!
Eleven days ago we asked our travel Insurance company to get me home to a hospital in Australia as soon as possible so that I can have proper follow
up care. Because of my condition I need to be flown on a stretcher, or via an air ambulance, so this is more costly and logistically challenging so things had been moving at a glacial pace. We just found out tonight though that we will be flying home tomorrow!!! Air ambulance from here to LA, and medical escort ain business class from LA to Melbourne arriving on the 1st
January, a great start to 2012! We’ll be celebrating New Years by flying across 10 different time zones!!
Wishing you all a safe and merry 2012!!
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